Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Book Club Thoughts on Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

This is our second book for the book club. We have started the year with new members and hopefully we will not lose the momentum of the beginning of the year. Some book club members met Jamie Ford in November 2009 at the Miami Book Fair. The presentation was great but meeting him was like icing on the cake! This book is a love story with the setting of Seattle during World War II. You can say that at times it is a predictable story. Nevertheless you fall in love with the protagonists, Henry and Keiko. Few of us had heard about the internment camps during the war and this book opened for us a world that we had heard very little of. I strongly recommend this book for book clubs. As a member of a club I know how hard it is to pick a book that everyone wants to read and then have interesting themes to discuss. There are many themes this book talks about. Themes that can be used for rich and interesting discussions: National identity, immigration and father-son relationships are just a few. The author does a superb job in presenting the camps without judgment. He allows you, the reader, to analyze, get this sad chapter in American history. One of the most beautiful relationships was between Henry and a jazz musician, Sheldon. You can't help but to feel a kinship for both of them. You learn that a "family" is not where a family physically lives. A family, who you call your family can not be taken away even if they (the government) take you away from your home. Your family is something that no one can take away from you. As the daughter of Cuban immigrant parents, who left Communist Cuba in the early 60's this stroke a chord. My family was separated then to be reunited in Florida. Most members liked the book and all of them said they would recommend it. On the other hand, some where not happy with the ending because they felt it ended abruptly. Overall, this is a book that I will pass on to other friends and colleagues as well. In other words, read it!

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